Olympic sprinter Alex Quiñónez shot dead at age 32 in Ecuador

Quiñónez, Ecuador's world-champion medalist, was killed Friday night outside a shopping center in Guayaquil.

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Alex Quiñónez, a world-champion sprinter from Ecuador, was shot dead Friday night outside a shopping center in Guayaquil, according to a report from The Guardian

One other person was killed in the shooting that felled the 32-year-old bronze medalist. 

In this Oct. 2019 photo, bronze medalist Alex Quiñónez of Ecuador stands on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 200 metres final during Day Six of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Sports reportedly announced the tragic news on Twitter, writing, “Today we lost a great athlete, a person who made us dream, who made us excited. The National Police are at the scene and the authorities are conducting the corresponding investigations. He will forever remain in the hearts of all Ecuadorians.”

In a tribute to Quiñónez they posted later, officials wrote, “Thank you for having invited us to dream big and for the infinite joys that you gave us, you leave a great legacy in Ecuadorian athletics.”

A traditional “burning chapel” was held on Sunday to receive Quiñónez’s casket at the Folke Anderson football stadium in Esmeraldas. 

On Twitter, Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso issued a statement of grief.

“We are very sorry for the painful loss of Alex Quiñónez, father, son, a great sprinter who marked the sport,” Lasso tweeted. “Our sincerest condolences to your loved ones. Rest in peace. Those who take the lives of Ecuadorians will not go unpunished. We will act forcefully.”

The first Ecuadorian athlete to win a global medal in any track event, Quiñónez qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games but was suspended for breaching the “whereabouts rules,” in which all athletes must make themselves available to drug testers for one hour a day, between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., 90 days in advance, for out-of-competition testing.

Quiñónez marks the second world champion track star killed in just weeks. As previously reported, Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop was killed earlier this month, and her husband, Ibrahim Rotich, was arrested for her murder 10 days ago. 

Rotich was detained after crashing his vehicle into a truck in a car chase with police, and escaping a first attempt by officers to apprehend him about 285 miles from Mombasa, Kenya. He was finally arrested hours later.

Tirop’s funeral was reportedly the day of Quiñónez’ murder.

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